Summer has arrived, and we’re ready to make a splash! My family is no stranger to Lancaster County’s waterways – 1,500 stream miles exist, not to mention destinations such as Speedwell Forge and Middle Creek – as we spend many hot summer days with kayak paddles in hand. And, we have plenty of company since kayaking is the fastest growing water sport in the country. Initially, we found our sea legs on the more mild Conestoga River, but it wasn’t long before we found our way to the Susquehanna River, the Chesapeake Bay and even the Outer Banks in North Carolina.
Fritz Schroeder, the director of Urban Greening at Lancaster County Conservancy, has a deep appreciation for our waterways and understands the problems they face. One day, Fritz and Spike Brant from Nimblist had an idea to celebrate our waterways while educating the public about the problems we face as a community, as well as how to get involved. These waterways connect us all: We rely on them for drinking water and recreation, and they are vital to the local economy. Unfortunately, 47% of those waters are too polluted to support their natural species.
With that vision in mind, Lancaster Water Week was born. The Lancaster County Conservancy has partnered with a number of local organizations to create events and activities throughout the week of June 3-10 to celebrate our waters. These partners have also created two grant funds – equally $30,000 – to support local water-based initiatives.